Election Observation

Election observation is a valued tool for improving the quality of elections regardless of the degree of democratic stability or advancement of any country. Observers help build public confidence in the honesty of electoral processes. Be it international or domestic, observation help in promoting and protecting the civil and political rights of participants in elections. The conduct of election observation may prevent election malpractice, fraud, and lead to the correction of errors, even while an election process is still under way. A professional, impartial, and credible report by observers builds trust in the democratic process and enhances the legitimacy of the governments that emerge from elections. Recommendations by election observer groups can lead to changes and improvements in national law and practice.

In recent years, election management bodies (EMBs) have engaged in the deployment of their staff to observe the conduct of elections in other countries. This concept has grown in number in part because of the universality of the principles underpinning election administration globally. EMBs that deploy staff to observe election in other nations, do so principally to learn as well as conduct comparative studies with the view of improving the administration of election in some or all phases in the election cycle. This different approach to election observation provides EMBs with the unique opportunity to gain practical insights on aspects that may be contextually relevant in their own EMB and country, and thus foster synergies between EMBs in advancing free, fair, transparent, and accessible elections.

The United States International Center for Electoral Support (USICES) is engaged in inviting leaders and senior level staff of EMBs, policy makers, members of the judiciary and legislators, as well as leaders of prominent civil society organizations in different countries to observe the conduct of U.S. elections at federal and state level to learn and gain insights about U.S. unique election infrastructure.